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Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) News/Business. (2013) Gun laws and immigration.

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United States 4, John Mccain 3, Virginia Tech 2, Us 2, Tucson 2, Mccain 2, Amnesty 2, Feinstein 2, Iowa 1, Chicago 1, Colorado 1, Marco Rubio 1, Mexico 1, Leahy 1, Grassley 1, Newtown 1, United States Senate 1, Patrick Leahy 1, George W. Bush 1, Charles Grassley 1,
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  CSPAN    Newsmakers    Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)   
   News/Business.  (2013) Gun laws and immigration.  

    February 3, 2013
    6:00 - 6:30pm EST  

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and they influence own image yfments it begins federal government 18 at 9:00 p.m. >> this week on "newsmakers" we are joined by senator charles grassley who is the top ranking republican on the judiciary committee. thank you for being a part of "newsmakers." congressional reporters joining us. david has the first question. >> the hearings last week on gun-control, did they change anything? did they change the nature of the debate? >> i think there was, coming out of the hearing, i felt a significant less support for the feinstein bill than i thought there was going into it. that could change. we're going to have more hearings later on.
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i felt that. another thing i felt was the other people participating were all good authorities in their area. a lot of information came out that will be very valuable to you. if i had to name on thing i think is going to be most difficult to deal with but is something we definitely have to deal with is the mental health issues and the reporting to the data base. we also have to deal with all the felonies. when the mental health issue is so important because in the case of virginia tech, tucson, and colorado it is an issue in all of those killings. >> can i ask you specifically what gave you the sense that the portions of the support on the feinstein amendment had diminished?
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>> i think there was information came out in the meeting that would make it less supported. let me back up a little bit. i will be very clear with you. i feel an outright ban is going to have a difficult time passing the house of representatives. that would keep it from becoming law. when you have five or seven democrat senators from rural areas that seem to come from second amendment states, i think that is a tough goal in the united states senate. the publicity of the feinstein amendment has been very positive up until now. the polls reflect that. i thought the hearing detracted from the bill to some extent.
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>> some people think this reaction to newtown for congress to take, some gun rights advocates believe that you cannot legislate this problem away. any legislation would not have prevented newtown. do you stand? do you believe congress is not the right avenue? >> i spoke about some things that has got to be done. your question deals with the banning of certain guns. first of all, i quoted a justice report that makes it overwhelming that banning guns does not prevent killings.
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then you have the columbine killings in 1998 when guns were banned. then have the situation in virginia tech and in the case of tucson or even a ban on those guns, none were used in those particular killings. then you have a situation where you want to ban semi-automatic rifles but you do not ban semi- automatic shotguns. the picking and choosing makes it difficult to justify that somehow you ban some and not others, and you figure 500 killings in chicago over the last year, mostly done by hand guns. when you look at the whole picture, it makes it difficult to say "you ban these guns." >> you mentioned mental illness. do you think there should be a
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broader background check given the fact that people can buy guns at gun shows or privately sell them and not require a background check? >> probably there is not enough background checks. when you get into a one-on-one sale as opposed to a business and some friend wants to sell to another friend, i do not think i want to go that far. i can tell you this. if there is an industry of purchasing of guns, it is done to buy guns for people that cannot get through the data base. an's say previous felons as example. i think we have to have prosecution of those. that is done now. it is not under some state law.
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>> what about gun shows? do you think there should be a background check at gun shows? >> no. >> why not? >> i go back to what i previously said. those are usually one-on-one sales. a lot of people already have to do that, because they are in a situation where they are licensed. as a licensed dealer they have to. some of those are already checked. or you just have single individuals who are not in the business and they want to sell their gun to another person. i think that is too big of a governmental intrusion in a private deal. >> what about some sort of presence from the federal government at these gun shows? is there a way to add that to the debate?
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>> something like that, if your presence question is related to the fact there is a federal person at the gun show that can get the information about whether this person ought to buy a gun or not, that is a whole different story. the licensed dealers at the gun shows now have to go through that process. i do not think there's any question if it is legitimate for people from atf to be at a gun show. they are open. i bet you they are there anyway. >> let me get to the political aspect. i know we are 21 months out from the november 2014 election. your state will be closely watched because it is an open senate seat. you keep getting reelected. on some of these key issues, you rarely agree. how big of a deal is this gun issue going to be in that i was senate race? >> i think it will be a big
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deal. i can tell you in 11 meetings i had that included five high schools, one college, an open town meeting and three businesses that i went to visit and at every visit i make sure i have 40 minutes for a town meeting with their employees. at all but two of those 11 meetings the gun issue came up. i did not find any support for the gun ban you're asking me about. i found a great deal of fear that legislating anyplace in this area people think they will come and get our guns. when i am at church or going to eat after, people come up and whisper in your ear "don't let them take our guns away from us."
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i am telling you that there is a lot of concern out there that might not be major in these polls you are seeing. >> senator harkin has been reelected five times. how does that fit? >> you're asking a question that goes way beyond guns. in most of these races, gun companies may be involved. gun issues are not talked about at most of our campaign events. how can it be that the state of iowa can do this? people from iowa are very open- minded.
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if you are a hardworking political leader and you do not take extreme positions, you have to get respected from your view. >> guns, immigration, federal debt/deficit, which of those three issues will be paramount in that senate campaign? >> unless the economy improves, it will be the economy. if it is beyond the economy, i think health care might be an issue. whatever democrat runs probably voted for it. whatever republican runs did not vote for it. i do not think guns will be a big issue unless there is a lot of administrative action taken by this president that is going to turn gun owners off.
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then the president could raise it to a big campaign issue. i do not think any action by congress will raise it to a big campaign issue. >> i wanted to ask the questions about immigration reform. a group of eight senators are trying to draft legislation and take the lead on this issue. were you asked to be in the group? >> i was not. i suppose i could have volunteered. as ranking member, particularly being ranking member of the judiciary committee, it is more ideologically divided. i think i have to be a person that is an honest broker. i am going to look at it from the standpoint of my participating in the 1986 act
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and try to make sure some of the things that were common then that did not materialize are taking care of in this bill. i would have an admonition to the people that wrote the outline. they said in the last sentence something to the effect that we're going to fix this once and for all so never have to deal with it again. that is the very same thing we said in 1986. i voted for amnesty. we found out that taking care of 3 million people through amnesty because we put a whole bunch of other things in place to make sure we were not a magnet. they did not materialize. instead of having a 3 million person issue, now we have a 12 million person issue. my admonition is to not make the same mistake again so that 20 years from now our successors might have a 25 million person issue.
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for you, what needs to be in any immigration reform deal? >> i think the words "securing the border," i do not know how you will define it. to me it would be making sure you cannot cross the border without papers. some of that is dependent upon congress making sure that the indices are beefed up. that opens up the door of what to do about it. that determination as a committee of local officials and business people and law enforcement people like that to make that determination. i would not be satisfied with having a commission like that do any more than recommend to congress that congress make a determination that moves on to the other issue of pathway. i surely do not want the president of the united states
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to make that determination. >> what do you make of marco rubio's proposal on citizenship? what do you think about him being out front for the republican party on this issue? >> he is the perfect person to be out front. he has gone through it. he represents a lot of these people. he's an outstanding spokesman. the issue he brings up has not been put on paper yet. i do not think i want to go beyond the answer i just gave you about seeing that the border is secured. >> can you give me one or two precise examples about what about the 1986 bill you would like to fix? >> first of all, we do not need
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to fix this. for the first time in the history of our country, it was made illegal for an importer to hire someone without papers. then that was based on the fact that we had documentation that would show that they were here illegally or not here illegally. we did not anticipate an industry of false documents. that really ended up being a smokescreen although we did not anticipate it at the time. more secure document for sure. securing the border in a physical way with personnel, with fence, with whatever it takes to make sure you cannot cross without borders. the same when an american goes into mexico. you would not dare go down there without papers. you do not want people coming up here without papers. that was anticipated. that is why we thought the whole scheme did not work.
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we legalized 3 million people based on the proposition. now we reward illegality. we have a 12 million person problem. anyone that went through that should not say we did not learn anything. it looks to me that this paper does not show the history of 1986. i hope they can do it. it is my responsibility to make sure they do. >> are you using that same word "amnesty" to refer to the proposal put out by these eight senators? >> listen.
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when you legalize anybody that did anything illegally, i guess i would say you have given a person amnesty. we do not use the word "amnest"" just for immigration. we do it for tax policy, people that do not pay their taxes. >> look down the road six or eight months. what will be the big sticking point of immigration? give me the first paragraph of the story about why the two sides appear stuck? >> pathway to immigration. pathway to citizenship. >> the simple concept or methodology? >> the methodology and
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determination of when the border is secure. >> what about the methodology? will it be a fight over a trigger? >> that is the basis for it. i think i have spoken to it. committees are going to make a determination that the border is secure and then the pathway to citizenship kicks in. who makes that determination? i think congress ought to make it. >> just to get on the political aspect of immigration, senator mccain said if it is not taking care of relatively soon republicans could pay a price in future elections. i want to get your sense on whether that is an impetus for you to try to support this? >> i think senator mccain is right. i think he's a little naive to think that hispanic people, we pass a bill and then they will vote republican. i think that is part of the reason why they did not vote republican in this election. we have not spoken to them.
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we have not felt inclusive. we felt we did not need to worry too much about minority groups. to pander to them through an immigration bill, even if we are successful, it is not going to get the job done. we have to recognize hispanic people as being very family oriented, very religious oriented. they have good work ethics. all things that conservative republicans say they stand for and hopefully do stand for. we have to work with people on the basis other than just economics. another thing that is wrong selling this as a way to get hispanic support is the fact that we ought to be selling this as an issue to help the entire economy.
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when you have an underground of 12 million people and they are working at sub-minimum wage, it is cutting down on the wages of everybody. we have to do immigration for the entire economy including h2b, people who come to be professional high-technology people. we have to work out workable plans in that area. that deals with the entire economy. it is an economic issue. it is not a political issue. hopefully if we get it done we get people employed. it will make dealing with the immigration issue a lot easier. >> what percentage do you put at success for this by the end of the year? >> i think there is a good chance of success if the secure border issue is well taken care of, that there is a fast rule that the pathway to citizenship will only kick in when we do not let anyone come into the country except with papers.
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>> thank you. >> we have been listening to this for 30 years about tightening the border. will you ever felt confident enough to say the border is secure? >> right now the answer is no. let's see what this legislation does. it has to be a keystone of this legislation or the whole arch will fall through. >> budget increases, everything, you know that border. it is thousands of miles long. it is porous. you could see a point were you could say "i'm confident the border will be secured?" >> it is a hope. i believe in the sovereignty of the united states. isn't controlling borders very basic to sovereignty? >> absolutely. are you confident it can happen? >> we will work to have that happen.
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>> what are your plans in 2016? are you planning re-election? >> my plans right now are to do the things that it takes to be reelected, raise money, do political activity in my state. my main basis for any help of reelection in the future or has been in the past is do the very best job you can as the united states senator. people will recognize it and re- elect you. i will continue to do the same thing, go to all 99 counties to hold a town meeting. i will let you know in 2015. >> we have to leave it there. thank you for your time. >> thank you. let me turn to our two reporters. let's begin with gun control. that is where we began.
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what did you hear? what is the prospect for a deal? what you think it looks like? >> i was a little bit surprised when he said the support for senator feinstein's bill does not seem as strong as it might. we will have to see. i do not know about that. there is momentum there. there's also a tremendous resistance. the president of the united states is behind this. the senate majority leader has not ruled out action on a number of proposals. this is all a work in progress. we cannot judge. it is interesting that senator grassley says that. he is open minded to something be done. he is willing to listen. >> he's also reading into senator reid's remarks that he is going to put a bill on the floor.
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billll be senator leahy's whether he takes on the cause. >> the chairman of the judiciary committee, patrick leahy, whether or not he supports the assault weapons ban. immigration reform is another big issue. >> political momentum is certainly there. we have to think they will get together and do something. this border security thing, if that is the deal make or
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breaker, it will be tough for some of these hard-line senators to say "i'm confident that the border is secure." we have been hearing this for over 30 years here. can you get to the point where they are comfortable with what is being done? >> 2007 when they said amnesty, it did not go anywhere. >> he also qualified it to indicate it may not be a bad thing. the problem in 2007 was the 2008 election cycle had begun. that was a presidential year. the colored things quite a bit. >> the hopes are very high amongst leadership on the democratic side. i expect them to really put
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forward a big effort that the president is behind it and he has made it a top legislative priority. i think the path to citizenship is the big hurdle. >> what are they talking about on that? how would it work? what are the two different ideas? maybe there are more than two. >> anyone eligible would have to meet certain conditions to qualify to get in line. to pay taxes, learn english, proficient in history. there are lots of things. this idea of the border security is what republicans are hoping will be the case. the president said he wants a quicker path. his contingency has done everything that has been asked in terms of border security. there should not be much more
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that needs to be done in order to satisfy people. >> what about this issue that congress needs to be the one that determines whether or not the border is secure? how would you get congress to agree to that? >> we have to remember the emotions that are wrapped up in this. you can talk about border security all day. if you represent a district where constituents are upset about illegal immigrants for whatever reason, jobs, whatever, that colors everything. you can stand there in that district and say the borders are secure. constituents say this really annoys me for all the reasons i will not go into. it is such an emotional argument. that will sway people as it did
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in 2007 and 1986. we have to keep that in mind. >> thank you both very much. >> john mccain's 2000 campaign, when he ran for president, it is the most memorable campaign of any that i have ever covered. we will never see it again. here he was, facing george w. bush, the republican party backing him, all of the money, and john mccain held 114 town meetings. and he stayed there until every question was answered. you could see the light bulb going off over people's heads. john mccain would say, we will not get a patient's bill of
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rights. next question. it was this refreshing candor. you would see it in people's responses. he was totally open to the press. no one had seen that before and no one has seen it sense. >> longtime columnist and political analyst, tonight at 8:00. >> this is a picture that puts the emphasis squarely on what is the future for the 3.5 million people who have been given choices. he gave you two women in the cotton fields. one of them seems to be completely surrounded by cotton. she has her baskets, she is looking down at it.